Penultimate weekend I had attended a social event downtown. A good friend of mine had sent me an invitation card, days prior, intimating me of a 'Committee of Friends' gathering where his Nigerian friends and well-wishers would be told of his plans to travel back to Nigeria to traditionally marry and wed his girlfriend this December. The dude who hails from Nnewi, Anambra state, had told me on telephone that he would like me to deliver a brief speech on marriage and its importance to which I answered in the affirmative.
As we ate and drank that night bantering with friends and making new ones the MC suddenly reminded us of the reason for the gathering craving the indulgence of all and sundry. He therefore set the tone for the commencement of proceedings.
Following the end of the well-attended event the celebrant saw me off at wee hours of the night. I had asked him what he made of the current worrisome security situation back home. And why and how he chose to indulge in the nuptials at this very tense moment in time.
First and foremost he made it clear that age was no longer on his side at 35. Besides, the bride had been 'pestering' him all months long refusing every entreaty for postponement of the marriage for whatever reason. Again, running away from one's homeland for too long, he reasoned, is likely to be misinterpreted or misconstrued as losing focus in life or living irresponsibly.
Indeed, he aknowledged the daunting security challenges back home yet declared fearlessly that since he had fixed the wedding for the tail end of December he could not afford to give any excuse for his inability to honour the nuptial feast in town. So go he must even when risks abound.
My bosom friend would be returning back home soon to a devastated country reduced to a 'zoo' by combined forces of evil. It would not going to be one trip fraught with reminiscences of the distant past. Nor would there be glorious tales to tell upon return back to base. The feeling of nostalgia enveloping would-be travellers would not seize him as he boards his flight, destination: Lagos.
Upon his arrival in Nigeria he would notice the battlefields and burnt houses and shops, graphic images and scenes of war (especially in the South-east) in a supposedly peace time. He would hear about those 'sacrificed' on the alter of agitation for the Biafran nationhood! He would be told of how Ndi-Igbo have been surviving the military and para-military onslaught of the federal forces deployed to the region to intimidate, kill and extort.
President Buhari and his (mis)ruling APC friends had turned Nigeria upside down. The nation has suffered incalculable 'damage' in the incompetent hands of Buharism. She has seen more and more citizens becoming beggars and destitutes in their own lands. It has witnessed the spike in poverty level, unemployment and lack of power and potable water supply. It has experienced the bastardisation of the Naira and the economy.
This year there would not be 'exodus' as usual by those of us outside our shores. Those in the Diaspora are faced with a dilemma of a sort: risking the trip to be with friends and loved ones back home or staying behind at one's station and celebrating with those found yonder. But some folks would still be forced to travel back home for one family or social engagement.
While the general situation looks helpless and hopeless the social revolting campaigns like #NorthIsBleeding protests involving northern youths gives out hope for a better future post-Buharism. If the youths of Nigeria, be they Yoruba, Hausa/Fulani, Igbo or Ijaw could wake up and with one voice say 'No' to the Buhari leadership nonsense then the brutal regime is destined to 'die'!
As the former President Olusegun Obasanjo succinctly put it recently expecting anything positively more from Buhari is akin to kicking a dead horse! According to the elder statesman the President had done his very 'best' even though his best is not good enough.
Minister Lai Mohammed (who reacted angrily to the Obasanjo declaration) can lie himself to his grave, that cannot change the narrative. Nigerians are wiser and we know better. Nigeria cannot be in safe hands when Nigerians are at the receiving end of Buhari's failures.
The outgoing year 2021 would go down in history as our worst year as a people and as a nation challenged on every front. The year witnessed more blood flowing from the north down to the south. No region was spared the bloodletting. Either you are killed for protesting against the abandonment of security of lives and properties as the primary purpose of government by the powers-that-be or you die from organized abduction or banditry on the roads.
Either you are 'roasted' by hunger in a land of plenty or you are reduced to begging or destitution by terrorists and Fulani herdsmen. Either you are a victim of power failure or you risk being labelled an IPOB/ESN sympathiser or collaborator and 'wasted'. Either way many more Nigerians are daily falling victim to terrorism by the state and non-state actors!
As another Christmas feast dawns on humanity the world is challenged on many fronts. COVID-19, terrorism, wars, famine, poverty and what have you, we are all reaping what we sow as glorified animals destroying the vast 'paradise' the Creator bequeathed us. Humanity is paying the huge price for our collective irresponsibility and sins.
Yet, the reason for the season must not be lost on our collective consciousness. As a struggling people ostensibly abandoned by heavenly forces to our fate we must pray and fast for solutions to our problems. There is no other auspicious occasion that gives us opportunity for soul-searching than this.
The reason for this great season is unique: the glorious birth of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus the Christ from Nazareth. There is every sense of sacrifice in His coming! The Bible tells us that before He came the omnipotent Supreme Being had asked who would go down to save humanity from itself; who would go forth to the earth to deliver mankind from luciferian evil machinations. And He volunteered Himself!
With His sacrificial coming salvation came forth! With His coming Satan was given a bloody nose! With His coming good tidings came pouring forth like fresh water in the desert. With Jesus coming the frontier of evil was shattered for good. Hallelujah!
As we wine and dine and celebrate this Yuletide next weekend and New Year next fortnight let us not lose sight of the reason for the season. Knowing the reason for the season would make us better citizens and fathers and mothers. Knowing same would set us free as truth and its knowledge always does! Knowing it would heal our bloodied land and make things better in the new year.
Merry Xmas and happy prosperous new year 2022 to all Nigerians of goodwill. (And the last parting shot: Buhari must fall for Nigeria to survive!)